Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Weird Fiction – review

Director: Jacob Perrett

Release date: 2018

Contains spoilers

Stranger Things may have brought retro-fitting horror/sci-fi into an eighties vibe straight into a general viewer eye, but reaching for that earlier aesthetic has been a popular pastime with filmmakers (especially indie filmmakers) for a while now.

Jacob Perrett’s Weird Fiction grabs back to the eighties and holds on tight, offering us an anthology film with a horror host – the Collector (Jacob Perrett). It is actually rather strangely done in places. The eighties is certainly captured in look and feel, straight to video filming is given its homage in logical leaps and plot derivations that feel right but then there are the idiosyncrasies. Cabled house phones are there but characters also carry smart phones – and it feels deliberate.

bite mark

The section we are interested in is The Incubus. We follow Dan (Taylor Rhoades), a porn actor who seems ill after a shoot and falls to the floor. He wakes, goes to his apartment and bumps into neighbour Missy (Torri Bouslough), returning some music cassettes, who clearly has a crush on him. As he messes around in the apartment, he finds a vest (I think) that is covered in blood and a cape. He showers and blood runs down the plughole, out of the shower he notices wounds on his neck.

the nails

That night he has a strange fever dream as his body levitates off the bed and by the next morning, he has developed long nails. The nails look bad – clearly plastic Halloween claws – but again this feels deliberate, perhaps pointing to films such as Vampire’s Kiss or Martin (both of which having scenes with cheap Halloween fangs). This connection fits with a film that plays with whether Dan has become a vampire or just believes he has. It is clear he has some form of illness (the film, again, is deliberately vague – could it be a std, or some debilitating condition, or vampirism) and he admits to be negligent over having it checked out.


He starts developing a relationship with Missy. Interestingly she is a hunter (having her grandfather’s rifle) and takes him hunting (he, swathed against the sun with scarf, shades and hat) but could her being a hunter also mean she is a vampire hunter? When she tells him she knows what he is, does she mean vampire or porn actor? The film revels in this vagueness. Taylor Rhoades appears through the film's various segments, but I felt his strongest performance was in this and Torri Bouslough lit up the screen with her presence (so why she was only in this segment is a mystery).


The vagueness works but the story does lurch around because of it. However, that wasn’t too much of a problem. The nail effects might be distracting (especially as the Collector’s nails looked much more convincing in the link sections) until you realised that this was likely deliberately done. The budget, however, does show. That said, as a whole I enjoyed this throwback to straight to video horror and, in respect of the specific segment, I enjoyed what I saw. 5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

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